What is body powder?
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Body powder is a blend of dry powdered ingredients designed to absorb moisture, combat chafe, control odor, and cool and soothe the skin.
What is Body Powder?
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Body powder is made from highly absorbent ingredients, that help take moisture off the skin, leaving a dry, smooth feeling. Body powders often have distinct scents, and some have ingredients to provide a cooling and tingling sensation to the skin.
Body Powder Benefits
Use body powder to: [graphics]
  • Absorb moisture
  • Reduce chafe
  • Control odor
  • Soothe and cool the skin
Use Body Powder To:
Some body powders are developed to be versatile, with additional uses ranging from deodorant and foot powders. A versatile body powder can be used for: [graphics]
  • Deodorant / body powder for underarms
  • Feet & shoes / body powder as a foot powder
  • Groin-area / body powder to combat chafe
There are some extra credit uses for body powder. These include: [graphics]
  • To thicken your eyelashes (carefully apply body powder to eyelashes before applying mascara)
  • For silky-smooth sleep (apply body powder after showering and towelling off, all over your body, before climbing under the covers)
  • To help the t-shirt last an extra day (hey, no judgment. The best versatile body powders have lots of uses. Sometimes when we're on the run or on the road it would be great to have our shirt last a little longer and stink a little less. Body powders with odor-controlling baking soda can help with this)
  • Dry shampoo
[Apply body powder GIF]
  1. The best time to apply body powder is after taking a shower or bath. It's important to have the skin be as dry as possible -- too much moisture can cause the body powder to clump.

  2. The powder can be tapped into the palm and applied either firmly (underarms) or gently (groin-area), as well as tapped directly into shoes. A nickel-sized amount is usually adequate for each underarm, and a quarter-sized amount for the groin.

  3. While there is some difference of opinion, we've found that for best results, apply body powder after getting dressed. High quality natural body powders with baking soda will help control odor on the inside of clothes as well. Applying this way also controls the potential mess.

  4. Be careful about breathing the powder in. Apply in a well-ventilated area, and for safest application hold your breath while doing it. It's worthwhile to avoid breathing in even natural, chemical-free body powders, as particulate is never wanted in the lungs.

  5. Avoid using moisturizer and body powder in the same areas at the same time, and avoid contact with eyes or any broken skin.

  6. Some body powders are made in sturdy, travel-ready containers, and can be carried to work or to the gym and applied if wanted or as needed throughout the day.
How To Apply Body Powder:
A quick survey of body powder fans about their favorite ways to use body powder:

"Use body powder to help fight the funk"

"Use body powder to absorb moisture and combat chafe"

"Use body powder for the snuggliest sleep of your life"

"Use body powder for a cooling tingle"

"Use body powder because it feels so damn good"

"Use body powder because Lebron James does" [photo of LeBron throwing powder]

Body powder for men and body powder for women overlap in most ways but can have different applications as well.

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Why People Love Body Powder:
Body powder for men is designed to control odor and combat chafe. The topic can get a little crass - men ask about "itchy balls," "jock itch," etc. - silly names for very uncomfortable experiences. We'll quickly break down this phenomenon and explain how body powder can help with chafe.
Body Powder For Men:
What Is Chafing?
Chafing is an irritation caused from the friction of skin to skin contact, especially in the presence of moisture. Chafe comes from repeated irritation to the skin, and in some cases lead to inflammation and even infection. Chafing can be very uncomfortable.
Why Do Men Get Chafe?
Men can be prone to chafe because the skin of their inner thighs can rub against their groin, leading to extra discomfort. Chafing is often exacerbated by perspiration, which can add a stickiness that increases tug and pull. Hair follicles are prone to infection from frequent chafing, and hairy men may be more likely to experience chafe. The wrong underwear can also increase the likelihood of men chafing. The fact is, there's a lot going on down there. Some men experience chafing that can be quite uncomfortable.
How To Treat Chafing For Men:
1. Body Powder for Chafe
Body powder is an effective way for men to combat chafe, as it absorbs moisture, cools and soothes the skin, and reduces friction. Some body powders are better than others for this, though its worth noting that certain brands add chemicals to increase the adhesion of the powder. Some of these chemicals may be toxic, so be sure to choose a trustworthy body powder brand that is safe, ideally one that performs well without the use of chemicals.

2. Try Different Underwear
Certain brands of underwear are designed to reduce the skin to skin contact, and fit in a snug way that minimizes chafe. For a comprehensive look at underwear to reduce chafe for men click here.

3. Trim Body Hair
Help control chafe by keeping body hair short to reduce added friction and the irritation this can bring to hair follicles.

4. Moisturize Before Bed
After long days and lots of activity, it's time for men to give their balls a break. The rubbing of skin on skin, as well as thick or abrasive fabrics like denim, can lead to chafe and make skin irritated. One effective way to reduce chafe for men is to apply a natural moisturizer (coconut oil is ideal) to the groin right before bed, giving the skin some real R&R overnight
Where Do Men Use Body Powder?
Men use body powder to absorb moisture, combat chafe and soothe the skin around their groin, applying the powder for the comforting feeling and the cooling tingle. Some body powders are designed to be versatile, working effectively not only to combat groin chafe but as natural deodorants and foot powders.
How To Use Body Powder For Men
Some body powders are only designed to work on the groin area. There's only one reason for this: specialization allows companies to sell you more products. Body powder should be versatile. That's part of the reason it is such a great product.

A versatile body powder has three applications:
  • Deodorant (body powder for underarms to control odor)
  • Foot Powder (body powder for shoes and feet to cool the feet and minimize smells)
  • Body Powder (body powder applied to groin-area to cool and soothe the skin and combat chafe)
[comparable diagram for men using body powder]

Body powder for women, often called dusting powder, is designed to control body odor, minimize sweating, soothe and smooth the skin, and combat chafe. Body powder for women can be an effective natural deodorant. Brands that make versatile, high-performing body powders without chemicals offer women a chance to control body odor without exposing themselves to toxins.
Body Powder For Women:
What Causes Body Odor?
Sweat itself has no odor, but areas such as underarms that often warm and sweat heavily create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive in. Odor is actually caused by bacteria breaking down proteins in the sweat and converting them into acids.
Why Do Women Get Body Odor?
Because the world is unfair. Wait, no. Because women sweat too! There is actually a subtle difference in the compounds in the sweat of women and men, which can lead to different scents. However, women are just as likely to have odor-causing bacteria build up and create unpleasant odors. The main difference is actually that society has unfair expectations of women around how they smell (and for that matter, look, act, dress, get paid, and hold power too…). But while we fight all those we might as well be fighting the body odor too.
Do Women Smell More Than Men?
Women and men actually do smell different. Male and female sweat both have two compounds, 3-hydroxy-3-methylhexanoic acid and 3-methyl-3-sulfanylhexan-1-ol, that contribute to the development of odor-causing bacteria. The difference is the ratios: women have a higher rate of 3-methyl-3-sulfanylhexan-1-ol, and men a higher rate of 3-hydroxy-3-methylhexanoic acid. Some describe it as a "cheesy" fragrance, versus an "oniony" one. Next time you see an especially sweaty person, offer to give their armpit a whiff and see if it smells like cheese or onions. Actually, better idea: offer them body powder instead, with anti-microbial, odor-fighting ingredients and a delightful cooling tingle!
How To Use Body Powder For Women:
Women use body powder as a natural deodorant, as a foot powder to reduce odor in their shoes, and to help keep their skin feeling soft and smooth. Some body powders also have a delightful cooling tingle.

A versatile body powder for women has three applications:
  • Deodorant (body powder for underarms to control odor)
  • Foot Powder (body powder for shoes and feet to cool the feet and minimize smells)
  • Body Powder (body powder applied to remove moisture and oils from the skin, leaving it soft and smooth with a cooling tingle)
[comparable diagram for women using body powder]

Shower Often and Exfoliate
  • Bathing frequently helps minimize bacteria buildup, but its even more effective if you exfoliate your underarms often. Dead skin cells can build up in the underarms, contributing to the growth of odor-causing bacteria. A natural, chemical-free soap paired with an sturdy washcloth used at least once daily can go a long way in reducing body odor.
Body Powder for Body Odor
  • Body powder can effectively control body odor for several reasons:
    • Powder helps to exfoliate the skin
    • Ingredients like baking soda help kill odor-causing bacteria
    • Body powder helps raise the pH of the skin, minimizing the acid by-product of odor-causing bacteria
    • Quality body powders applied when dressed leave an odor-fighting layer on the inside of clothes as well
Change Your Diet
  • Certain foods like garlic and onion can be carried in your sweat, contributing to odor. Additionally foods can make people sweat more such as hot peppers. Alcohol and caffeine can contribute to sweating as well.
Admit (Partial) Defeat
  • At the end of the day body odor is natural. The goal shouldn't be to eliminate it completely. This would require too many chemicals that could have serious unintended consequences. Instead the goals should be to control it so that it is not an issue in your daily life.
How To Control Body Odor:
Body powder can usually function as foot powder, effectively combating food odor, reducing musty scents in shoes, minimizing moisture, and giving feet a cooling tingle.

The leading talc-based body powder was originally developed as a versatile, "use anywhere"-type product. Over time the company that created it realized that they could specialize their products to sell more goods. Thus was born the "Foot Powder," a product which has the same ingredients but comes in a different color bottle. Remarkably, both products sold.

This kind of specialization is ubiquitous across the personal care industry. Why? Because it lets companies sell more products. But is it really necessary? Do we really need to make and throw out more things? That's for you to decide. It's worth noting, however, that the vast majority of body powders ALSO work as foot powders, and certain high-quality brands work as natural deodorant as well.
Body Powder Versus Foot Powder
Feet smell for the same reasons that body odor exists anywhere: sweat creates a nutrient source for odor-causing bacteria. Specifically, foot odor comes from bacteria proliferating while converting proteins in sweat into acids. Feet smell *particularly bad* because they are often cramped into shoes with little to no air circulation, resulting in a moist, warm environment that is perfect for the growth of bacteria. Additionally, since feet are washed often but shoes are rarely washed, food odor can proliferate as the bacteria take root in the materials of the shoes themselves.
Why Do Feet Smell?
  1. Clean and exfoliate feet often
  2. Rotate pairs of shoes
  3. Use body powder to control moisture and kill odor-causing bacteria
  4. Allow feet time to breathe outside of shoes
  5. Remember the maxim: to stifle the stench you've got to beat the bugs
How To Fight Foot Odor:
[gif of tapping body powder into shoes]
How To Use Foot Powder In Shoes
There's a boom in natural deodorant going on right now, since there are risks associated with applying chemical-laden deodorant or antiperspirants with aluminum to the underarms, as they are core parts of the lymphatic system. Body powder is gaining popularity as a deodorant alternative for several reasons:
Body Powder Versus Deodorant:
Natural Deodorant Alternatives
Body powder can be an effective natural deodorant. There are lots of natural deodorants on the market. Many claim to be effective. For some reason very few of them seem to work. Part of the reason is that stick deodorants were designed with chemical application in mind. Natural deodorants keep the format (plastic stick) but change the formula (no chemicals). This is why so many people are switching to powder for natural odor control.
The Perks Of Powder
  • Exfoliates skins and removes dead skin cells
  • Leaves skin dry, smoothe, and with a cooling tingle
  • Some brands can effectively control odor without chemicals
  • Avoids the goopy, slippery feeling of stick deodorants
  • Quality brands have no chemicals and no aluminum
Are Antipersperants Safe?
The science around antiperspirant safety is inconclusive. Some studies suggest that the aluminum in antiperspirants can be absorbed through the skin, impacting the lymphatic system and increasing risks of certain cancers. Other studies say the opposite. Like many things in life, the answer is "it's complicated." In general it may be worthwhile to avoid antiperspirants unless excessive sweating is a real issue, or whether specific occasions (i.e. public presentation) justify their use. Deodorants tend to be laden with chemicals, the science around which is often "inconclusive."

We'll explore the history of talc later in this article, but part of the story around talc is that companies using it in their products suppressed evidence that it may be harmful. Most consumer good companies operate on short term earnings cycles, with a fiduciary responsibility to show investors they are selling more goods. This means that questions like the long term implications of their products on consumer health can be set to the backburner. This is how cancer-causing chemicals can be found in 98 major brands of shampoo, many of whose manufacturer say that the science is, you guessed it, "inconclusive."

The New York Times Editorial Board released a statement in 2019 that said, "Thousands of chemicals, in billions of dollars worth of products, are being governed by regulations that haven't been updated in decades." There is a lot of money on the line, and powerful incentives for companies to ignore evidence that their products may be causing harm, especially if the data is inconclusive. With this in mind, it may be best to avoid chemicals in personal care products wherever possible. If natural body powder and natural deodorant can do the job, and if a natural body powder can also be a natural deodorant, it may be best to go with that, avoiding the "inclusives" around chemicals altogether.
There are thousands of chemicals used in personal care products, many governed by out of date regulations, some are used without proper long term testing. As infuriating as it is that companies may use unproven or potentially harmful chemicals, it also is "the way it is," and any user of personal care products would do well to understand the landscape and take appropriate precautions.
Are There Chemicals In Body Powder?
25 Common Chemicals In Body Powder:
This list of 25 chemicals is compiled from the ingredient labels of the top 10 body powder brands today.
Should Chemicals In Body Powder Be Avoided?
In general when assessing the chemicals in body powder, and in all personal care products, it's worth doing your own research to be sure you can feel comfortable with the product you are using. There are numerous reports warning of lax regulations, poor testing requirements, and dubious formulations on the market. Versatile body powders, intended for feet, groin-area and underarms, touch sensitive places where it is not uncommon for chemicals to be absorbed through the skin. Considering the regions (lymphatic system for underarms, sexual organs for groin-area) it's worth playing it as safe as possible. It's very rare to find body powder with no chemicals beyond baking soda, though there are some.
What is "Fragrance" In Body Powder?
Fragrance is a catch-all term for chemical cocktails that make personal care products smell good. Companies do not have to disclose what is actually in the fragrance, because the Federal Fair Package and Labeling Act exempts them from revealing "trade secrets" in their ingredient labeling. While this may offer a competitive advantage to the companies, when it comes to consumers it can really stink. Fragrances are often a mix of synthetic chemicals.

In a comprehensive survey to top-selling body powders, most brands on the market include fragrance in their ingredients. The American Academic of Dermatology lists fragrances as a primary cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis. It's also not uncommon to have people report skin irritation, rashes, or even allergic reactions when using products with "fragrance" on the label.

In general when it comes to chemicals and fragrances in body powder, our rule is "the less the better." It took us three years to come up with a body powder formula that had only one of the above twenty five chemicals. Which one? Our humble friend baking soda. The things people put on their skin really matters. Body powder is one of the most intimate products a man or woman could have. It's worth brands taking the effort to make sure that when customers put their faith in them they can be trusted.
Body powder has traditionally been made from talc (talcum), a highly absorbent mineral, that is the base of body powders which are blended with other ingredients. Talc has applications ranging from ceramics, paints and roofing, thickening and lubricating and cosmetics. Talc is incredibly soft and highly absorbent. Industrial demand for the mineral, and the abundant supply in the earth's crust, also makes it very cheap.
Why Is Body Powder Made With Talc?
Despite being the key ingredient in baby powder and body powder for nearly a century, talc has been linked to pulmonary issues, as well as ovarian cancer, leading to over 19,000 lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, a leading manufacturer of talc-based baby powders. The company has recently ended the sale of talc-based baby powders in North America.

Several high profile brands continue to make body powder with talc, often denying links between the negative health outcomes and the mineral. One of the reasons for the concern about talc is that in the earth it is naturally occurring with asbestos. While the manufacturers can purportedly remove asbestos from talc at the time of processing, there is some concern that this process is either partially effective or not deployed widely enough. In 2019 the FDA tested 52 talc-based cosmetic products for levels of asbestos. The agency found asbestos in nine.

Asbestos has long been known to increase cancer risk, and is especially dangerous when ingested or inhaled. That talc for so long has been the basis of baby powders raises red flags. Asbestos is also linked to lung and ovarian cancers.

Each person will make their own decision about whether they feel comfortable using a body powder with talc. It's worth noting, however, that even when being careful it's not uncommon for body powder users to inhale small amounts of the particulate. This makes it especially important to use high quality body powder from trustworthy brands, to ensure the cleanest, safest formula possible.
Is Body Powder With Talc Safe?
Cornstarch is a popular base for talc-free body powder, and has become much more popular in recent years. Some body powder companies choose cornstarch because it is very cheap, but some advocates caution that cornstarch is among the most genetically modified ingredients there are, which may carry their own environmental and health risks.

Arrowroot may be the best option for body powder. It is a plant-based powder derived from the rootstock of the arrowroot plant. Arrowroot performs as well as cornstarch but doesn't have the same concerns around industrial agriculture and GMOs. Plus it's got a really fun name.
Body Powder With Cornstarch
Body powder is different from baby powder because of ingredient selection, type and level of fragrance, and the presence or absence of tingling sensations. The primary use of baby powder is keeping a baby's skin dry, including minimizing diaper rash. Given the sensitive requirements of products designed for infants, baby powder is usually very gentle, with limited fragrance and no tingling sensation. Though for many years Johnson & Johnson manufactured a talc-based baby powder, the company recently announced plans to remove that product from North American markets. Though despite the health concerns, some body powders are still manufactured with talc, no major baby powders are.
Body Powder Versus Baby Powder
Body powder is different from baby powder because of ingredient selection, type and level of fragrance, and the presence or absence of tingling sensations. The primary use of baby powder is keeping a baby's skin dry, including minimizing diaper rash. Given the sensitive requirements of products designed for infants, baby powder is usually very gentle, with limited fragrance and no tingling sensation. Though for many years Johnson & Johnson manufactured a talc-based baby powder, the company recently announced plans to remove that product from North American markets. Though despite the health concerns, some body powders are still manufactured with talc, no major baby powders are.
Body Powder Versus Baby Powder
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